Monday, October 07, 2013

More On The Continuing Decline Of California

Yeah, I know, why in the name of Almighty God do I continue to live in this Bronze state.
What happened to the Golden State?
Well, I just thought that I would just jump ahead of the O-Care "metals" plans and go for the lowest.
Much as what is happening here in Cali.
Another article by  Joel Kotkin in The Daily Beast really hits the nail on the head of what is wrong with unfettered socialist Democrat control of state government.
Oh, Mr. Kotkin does point out that the Cali Democrats and with a big boost of the leftywhore media are touting how wonderful life is in Cali now. Now that they have had since 2012 full control of the state legislature, all the constitutional offices and control all the major populated cities in the state.
Mr. Kotkin points out, accurately, that there are really increasingly Two Californias.
One California is along the coast, the Pacific Ocean. If you take a look at a map of the state, save for Orange county in the south and Del Norte county in the north, it would be an almost straight line of Blue. Democrat central. The only seriously competitive county now in San Diego county.
The other California is mostly inland areas.
Again taking a look at a map of California, you can draw a line from Kern County and all the way to the Oregon border and it is Red. Republican central. There are a few Democrat pockets like Sacramento county in the north and Imperial county in the south. And two competitive counties in Riverside and San Bernardino. But by and large, that is your Two Californias.
A serious problem is that the coastal counties have some of the major population areas of California. That includes Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose. I leave San Diego out because it is still a competitive city that does elect Democrat and Republican mayors. But the other four, forget it. They are four of the major cities of the Bronze state. All in deep and or deeper control of the Democrat party.
Another problem is that the state can only rely on Silicon Valley growth to fund the ever-expanding state government. But it is only one viable industry. Gone are the days of manufacturing, energy, aerospace, and increasingly agriculture jobs. There is not a diversity of industries that people can actually be employed as it once was in California. There is a reason that people came here from all over the United States. And now, that is gone.
Consider these alarming stats.
California now has the highest levels of poverty in the United States. Higher than that of such perpetually high-poverty states such as Mississippi. In California, the poverty rate is an astonishing 23.5% according to Mr. Kotkin's article. The national average is 16%.
And we lead the nation as the state with the most welfare recipients as this report indicates. California has one-eighth the population of the United States and yet one-third of the welfare recipients.
And, not really all that surprising, California is pretty high in income inequality, a very big deal in left-wing circles. Although I don't particularly think it is something that can ever be evened out, a strong diverse economy does usually work.
And this is the shameful and saddest of all.
First that native born Hispanics can expect a lower life-span than their parents. Parents that almost certainly had it much tougher financially and physically than those born today. And if that is not enough, most people in California expect their incomes to stagnate in the coming six months. And that is shared by a diverse group of Hispanics, Whites, the young and the less educated.
The group that surprises me is Whites.
Because as you continue to read Mr. Kotkin's piece he will cite this piece by Victor Davis Hanson about, I love this, 'liberal apartheid'.
It is very, very true.
But it is coastal people that are dominating this state and who are they? Mostly Asians and WHITES!
But the fact is while Whites are now almost certainly a minority, no group tops 50%. Thus Whites are still a majority-minority in Cali. And they most certainly do not all live on the coast.
But this at the end of Mr. Davis Hanson's piece is the dagger through the leftist heart:

Modern liberalism, among other things, is a psychological state, in which very-well-off Americans find ways through their income and privilege to be exempt from the ramifications of their own ideologies, while adopting causes and pets that exempt them from guilt over their own status and limitless opportunities. Judging by their concrete actions, they are indifferent to the poor whom they romanticize at a safe distance. In short, voting for larger government and subsidies is seen as a necessary cost of being a reactionary, liberal elite.

And that is what has happened in California.
One other thing that I want to comment on is when the inlanders and the coastals collide.
A recent article in the Left Angeles Times illustrated this point rather sadly IMHO.
The recent U. S. Open of Surfing was held in Huntington Beach. H. B. is in the 714 area code. And is important to the story. On the last day of competition, in the early evening some people got rowdy and caused a mini-riot.
So, who should be blamed for it? I mean it can't be any local people. Can't be any people from H. B. and certainly it must be outsiders. And by outsiders, yeah it has to be people from San Bernardino and Riverside. And they are in the 909 area code. Although Riverside within the last five years got a separate area code, 951. But that does not matter because whether its 909 or 951, it those dreaded inland ya-hoos.
Read the comments in the article and you read resentment that inlanders dare to go to "their" beach. Correctly, many inlanders, and I have to say I am one even though I am in the San Gabriel Valley area code of 626, take offense to such blanket discrimination. And many people who have lived at the beach community for years do to. For people that make such illiterate statements are the nouveau riche types that have made Huntington Beach into a land that people want to come to. And overwhelmingly not to cause problems. And really, who is to say that those that caused the mini-riot were not in the words of Rick Fignetti, owner of Rockin Fig Surf, "a bunch of spoiled rich kids causing problems?"
The thrust of the article is the divide between coastal elites and inland everyone else. And the ill effect that it has on the state as a whole.
And here is where Mr. Kotkin's explanations of the four classes of Californians comes in.
Mr. Kotkin uses these terms:

New Serfs
Old Yeoman

Read the article for the explanation of each term.
One other reality is that now for the first time, the majority of Californians are renters, not homeowners. Thus the largest potential tax base is in the hands of not a cross-section of middle class people but a lot of speculators. The very people that were a huge part of the bursting of the housing bubble in the first place. That more than anything will drive class divisions even deeper than they already are in the Bronze state.
What Mr. Kotkin refers to as a New Feudalism is keeping California from regaining status as a positive trendsetter.
What can be done?
Understand that this problem is not something that happened overnight. It has been a bipartisan effort to get us here. It will need to be a bipartisan solution to get us out of this mess.
First, we need to be open and friendly to all kinds of businesses and that includes manufacturing, aerospace, conventional and unconventional energy coming to do business in the Bronze state.
Second we need to much less bureaucratic dealings with small business. Cut all red tape. The more business that there is the better in terms of employment and yes tax revenue for Sacramento.
Third, total revamping of all taxes collected by the state.
Here is a great litany of taxes the average Cali resident has to pay.
Income tax, sales tax, property tax.
In Cali, sales tax statewide is 7.75%. But if you so lucky as I am to live in Los Angeles County we get to pay a sales tax of nine percent.
Understand that some people will go to another county where it is lower to purchase big-ticket items such as appliances, autos and furniture. And the fact is that 7.75% is still too high. Many states have a reasonable state sales tax of four to six percent.
Fourth, a total overhaul of the state education system. California ranks at the bottom of all education statistics. We have to come to the reality that there is not enough money and too much money has gone down a rabbit hole. It is not all money. It is what we are teaching K-12. We should be totally ashamed that public school students that are fortunate to end up in a California university often have to take remedial classes just to catch up to college level. Where we should spend money is on junior colleges and tech schools. Education is a crucial long-term problem and needs a serious long-term solution.
Fifth, we desperately need to return to a part-time legislature. I will not bore you with the inane legislation that has passed and has been signed by Gov. Moonbean Brown. But most are detrimental to the state as a whole and a huge payoff to Democrat constituencies. And they are the fringiest of the fringe. It is not helping our economy, education and overall state well being.
Sixth, the Republican party needs to regain some strength beyond their strongholds. Again, that has been a long-term demise and will need a long-term solution. It will not take one or two elections. The fact that the Republicans have been set to the sidelines and the Democrats control the state legislature with a super-majority is not a good thing. Both parties need to be strong and yes, beyond their strongholds. It appears to be a good start that the Cali GOP is focusing on a lot of local races in this off-year election season and trying to build a bench.
There are others, but this is a start.
We can not continue going this road and expect that all will be A-OK. it will not.
Otherwise these California decline posts will continue to write themselves.

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